This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? They said this to test him…Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
This is the 5th Sunday of Lent and hopefully you have been faithful to your Lenten resolutions. Remember, your goal is not simply to have completed your resolutions, for resolutions can be very cold and impersonal. Rather, make sure to wrap them in warmth and embrace them with love. The idea of Lent is to become more like Christ.
They brought a woman caught in adultery. This scene should not be overlooked. We have a bunch of highly influential and powerful men condemning a very weak and lonely woman. Is this something of the past? Heck no! This is something that is happening today, especially in the Middle East, especially in many Muslim countries. Is this happening only there? Of course not! Have you not read the newspapers lately? Two teenagers were recently arrested for having viciously abused a 16-year-old child who was drunk at a party. I can’t even begin to describe what they did to her. What I can say is that they used their power to abuse her, and her friends did nothing about it.
We are very good at watching other people get dragged around. We are not very good at taking a step forward and lifting someone up.
Not too long ago, a pornographic video surfaced on the Internet that showed a woman that apparently resembled Miss Delaware. Immediately, she renounced her crown and denied the allegation. However, a few days later another video surfaced in which she stated her full name.
What I find shocking about this incident is that Miss Delaware did nothing illegal. Now in the old days, if you were burned alive it was for an obvious reason: you were a heretic. And no heretic was ever surprised for being burned at the stack. Today, Miss Delaware gets burned alive for doing what our culture most cherishes: expressing herself and defending her constitutional rights. So what happens to her next? She gets burned alive by the media and the Internet for doing just that. How ironic!
We are all very good at condemning. We are not very good at all in loving. We are all very good at giving our opinions. Only a few of us are very good at accepting someone else’s opinion. We are great at encouraging people to go off the deep end, to be different, to be radical! We are not very good at searching for them and rescuing them. We have a marvelous system for convicting criminals. We do not have a marvelous system for preventing crime or rehabilitating criminals. We do a good job in correcting other people’s faults. We don’t do well at pointing out their strengths. We are all very good at noticing the splinter in someone’s eye. We are not very good at noticing the plank in our own.
It would be fanciful to think that this adulterous woman was a good woman. She wasn’t. Like any adulterer, she was destroying someone’s marriage and family. But what is not so fanciful to think about are the men stalking her, besetting her and torturing her. They have no heart.
To be fair and accurate, the scribes and the Pharisees were absolutely right. Moses had commanded that adulterers be stoned. But the problem with the Law is not so much the Law but those who apply it. They apply it so unevenly, to everyone other than themselves, even to the wrong people, the meek and humble of heart.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote the following a few years back: “The crucifixion of Christ is that of the whole of human history, a history where the good are humiliated, the meek are assaulted, the honest crushed, and the pure of heart roundly mocked!” He knew this all too well. For eight years, he was the focus of constant ridicule. And when he realized he was becoming a distraction to the mission, he resigned. That’s true humility!
The media can be so infantile. This morning I glanced at the Drudge Report. In it, there were numerous close-up pictures of Pope Francis’ black shoes. The secular media, it appears, is going goo-goo ga-ga over the Pope’s “humility.” But when in the world did black shoes represent “humility”? How infantile! Listen, what makes this Pope humble are not his shoes but his heart! He is meek and gentle and humble of heart. What makes him truly “humble” is the courage he possesses to speak the truth charitably and right smack in the presence of vulgar, profane and disgusting people and their comments. Pope Francis will be what most people (especially atheists) find so hard to be: A defender of the Law and lover of all souls.
We need to learn the Law, especially God’s Law. But what we equally need to learn is how to apply it. The Law is good but tough; hence, it must be tenderized. It is good yet painful; therefore, it must be applied with love. Jesus Christ is the applicator. He is the ointment for those who have been burned.
He who is forgiven little, loves little (Lk 7:47). What would you expect from someone who has been forgiven? You would expect them to forgive as well, correct?
This is what the Lord did. He bet on it! He believed in it! What was it? He believed that the more you forgave someone, the more they would end up loving someone. The Lord’s greatest converts were the biggest sinners and his biggest detractors.
I think there were some people in the world that had hoped that the Cardinals would have elected a Pope that was not Catholic. You know someone in favor of contraception, “gay-marriage”, and abortion. What people do not understand (or can’t even imagine) is the fact that these things will never change. Why? Because Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
If it were not for the widespread influence of Judeo-Christian values, man would still be pointing the finger at woman; for as the story goes, man immediately blamed woman for the fall. But as we soon learned, God faulted them both. We are all sinners. Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.
What should we do? The Pharisees and scribes were itching for an answer. Christ knew their hearts. He knew their tricks. It is true she committed a grave sin. It is also true they had as well, for using people is also a grave sin. But the Pharisees and scribes were willing to torture a young woman to kill a young man. How many times have we won an argument and lost a soul? The Lord does not want to do that. He wants us all to be converted to Him.
Resolution: I will strive to be a defender of the Law and a lover of all souls.